No way back for Raul
Guillem says his hero Raul should not play for Spain again and reveals more on the Ronaldinho rumours.
Last Updated: 06/12/07 11:19am
Athletic Bilabao v Real Madrid
In Joaquin Caparros, Athletic Bilbao have found the perfect coach. He is the Martin O'Neill of Spanish football because, like the Aston Villa manager, he is not so much known for his tactics as for his motivational skills and for bringing through young players of quality.
I don't think he's the best at developing youngsters, but he's the best at giving them a chance. And that is how Athletic Bilbao works because they cannot sign anybody apart from Basque players.
Meanwhile, the big story at Real Madrid this week has been about Raul and how Luis Aragones seems to be backtracking on his position with the Spanish team.
I don't think Aragones is backtracking, I think he is just saying what everybody wants to hear, which is that Raul could be in his plans for the European Championships if he continues in this form.
I think privately he is praying that Raul stops playing this well so there won't be a debate on that. Although I am very pro-Raul, I think that if he played for the national team it would break the balance that is there now.
Everybody feels important and, like Mark Bolton said on Revista, when Thierry Henry left Arsenal, everybody else stepped up their responsibilities and were happy to do so. The same has happened with Spain.
Despite his great record, which will take him to 20-odd goals by the end of the season, I don't think he should be in the Spanish squad. And that is difficult for me to say because I love Raul!
Atletico Madrid v Getafe
I have just done an interview with Fernando Torres for Revista and he didn't want to talk much about Atletico Madrid, but I know he feels it was a great decision for both the club and for himself to leave in the summer.
It let Atletico Madrid move in a new direction and they have gone in a way that will please their fans. They've bought offensive wingers like Simao and Reyes, a striker in Forlan and it's all built around Sergio Aguero.
Just because he isn't playing in the Champions League, that doesn't mean Sergio Aguero is not one of the top players in Europe. He one of the top five, six or seven because he can pass the ball like Maradona, like he did to Forlan last week. Also he can become a Romario inside the box and he is great to watch.
At Getafe, Michale Laudrup is getting the sort of stats that Quique Sanchez Flores got in his first season there. Everybody has been patient with him and the team have been building points, using the philosophy that he wants to impose - which is a passing game.
So this should be a very entertaining derby.
Barcelona v Deportivo
The story of the week is that Ronaldinho might have agreed to join Chelsea.
That's not really the story. What's happening here is that Ronaldinho knows exactly what Chelsea are going to offer him. I don't think there is any agreement in place and I also think Barcelona are giving him a last chance.
They are in a very clever position and have managed the position so that if Ronaldinho doesn't get to the level that he was at - or at least close to it - everybody will say that he had to go.
But if he does get to the level that he needs to stay at Barcelona, then he will continue. Everybody can see that Barcelona have been very successful by keeping him around during the bad period he has been going through.
Barcelona cannot really lose.
Deportivo are going through a very bad period. It's their worst start to a season for 41 years, but because they are so limited with their funds and what they can do with their squad, they are going to be patient with Miguel Angel Lotina. He will be there for a long time.Do you agree with Guillem? Let us know what you think by using the feedback form below and continue to email him your questions here
Now to your e-mail...
Recently read your column on Ronaldinho to Chelsea and Mourinho to Barca etc. Great column as usual but for an expert I think you are far too biased. When talking about Messi you say "In my eyes there is no doubt that he is the best player in the world." I know it's a game of opinions, but you're just wrong. Kaka is clearly the best player in the world. But for the sake of debate, let's ask the question: "What did Messi do last year in the Champions League?" Oh that's right, got marked out of both games against Liverpool by Riise. What Kaka do? Ah of course, won it and was the top scorer. Debate over. I wonder if Kaka didn't play in Italy and had made his much talked about move to Real Madrid over the summer would you then acknowledge him as the world's best player? Buenos Dias, Neil Shortt. PS I do think Messi will be the best player in the world in a couple of years, but he isn't yet.
GUILLEM SAYS: To Neil. Ah, so it is a game of opinion but you close the debate with a 'debate over'...Interesting. I will put some questions to you, how did Milan finish in the Italian league last season (4th)? What is their position this year? And Barcelona (you will find Barcelona finished in a higher position in both)? How many league goals did Kaka scored this last 11 months and how many Messi (you will find Messi scored more)? Messi the best player in the world in two years!!!?? Really? You obviously have not been watching enough Serie A or La Liga games lately. And you really think my opinion has to do with me working for a show on La Liga? Well, then Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka (who both tipped Messi for the title of best player of the season) must be wrong too.
Hi Guillem, Being a Liverpool fan, I would be enraged to see Rafa lose his job after all that he has done for Liverpool. From your extensive knowledge of Liverpool, can you shed light on the troubling situation concerning the new owners? Is it really a serious issue - serious enough to make Rafa lose his job or serious enough to cause a massive Kop uprising against Hicks and Gillette? Thanks, Babar in Pakistan
GUILLEM SAYS: Liverpool is a club which is facing new tests down to their new circumstances (a manager who had never been a manager before, American owners and a general manager who holds the key to everything that is happening and to everything that will happen). It is one of those periods of waiting and seeing. Nobody can predict what will happen next despite the obvious implications of briefings against the manager. The manager feels he has a long-term plan and now it is down to the owners and to the general manager to trust him enough for him to continue with the job for a long time.
Hi Guillem, Valencia are my second team (my first love being Ipswich Town) and I wonder what you make of everything that is going on at the Mestalla at the moment? I'm not terribly convinced that Ronald Koeman is the man to bring Valencia the success it craves, but only time will tell. Perhaps it's time for a clearout of players with half an eye on mounting a serious challenge next season? Could it be the right time to cash in on David Villa? Or do you think there is still time to get things right this season and challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the top spot? Kind regards, Jonathan Taylor
GUILLEM SAYS: This Valencia is the son of a chairman without enough vision to take the club to the level their fans demand. Seven directors of football and five managers in three-and-a-half years, after spending 180 odd million euros on players, suggest he doesn't know where he is going. And Ronald Koeman feels strong and thinks he can manage this, but he will make it very clear all season that whatever happens will not be his fault. He says he will have to be judged next season. And as for Villa, he will have to show much more to be sold at a cost that will make him a profitable sale for Valencia.
With Espanyol being unusually high in the La Liga table, do you share the same view as I that in the unlikely event that this good start should continue, a Champions League place would mean undue pressure on a club with a small squad and therefore a relegation battle next season? Especially if the likes of Jarque and Riera are sold to pave the way for new signings. Don't get me wrong as a long-standing Espanyol fan (10 years) I have enjoyed the Uefa Cup in recent years but I am thinking of teams like Real Betis and Real Mallorca who in the past have struggled in both competitions. Espanyol in 1988 also had a flirtation with relegation. Just one more question: Why in the past two seasons are Espanyol playing in a second kit of PINK? Past years of red, black, yes but why pink? Many thanks. Mark Pickering, Manchester
GUILLEM SAYS: Espanyol unusually high in the table? I remind you, my fellow Espanyol fan, that only three years ago we missed on a Champions League place by ONLY ONE GOAL!! But I agree about your worries. Now is not the time to qualify for Champions League, but we are building a club (and a stadium and a squad) to be Champions League contenders in the mid term and I can't wait for that. It is also being done the right way (with common sense, without spending lots, building from the lower sides and clever young signings). About the pink, ask the commercial department, they say they are selling lots of them and that is why they are repeating it!